External Hard Drive Spin Up Issue

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Dimwhit, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #1
    I am being annoyed, and I'm not sure if/how I can fix it. I have an external hard drive that is pretty much only accessed for backup purposes. However, often times I open a Finder window, or a Save dialog box, and everything is put on hold while the external drive spins up, despite the fact that it's not being used. Now sure, if I'm going to browse the external drive contents, it would need to spin up. But is there a way to keep it from spinning up except when it's being used directly?
     
  2. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #2
    Is it connected via USB or Firewire? I've found that, when connected by Firewire, my drive doesn't spin down, but by USB it does...

    The easiest way is to throw Disc Utility into your doc and simply eject the drive when you're not using it. You can remount it with Disc Utility when you need it.

    Also, oddly enough I found that OS9 offered more support for controlling hdd spin-up and down than OSX does. It doesn't really bother me, but I think it's interesting.
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #3
    Are you saying that you don't want it to spin down to begin with, or are you saying that you expect to be able to view its contents without having it spin up (sounds like the latter)?

    You might be able to get the former by turning off the option to sleep drives in Energy Saver (btw my Firewire drives do seem to go to sleep when possible).

    I don't think the latter is a reasonable request -- the filesystem isn't designed that way, and I don't think there's an easy way (well, easier than creating your own operating system) to get that. I could be wrong, but....
     
  4. Dimwhit thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #4
    Some clarification for the two comments:

    It's connected via Firewire. It does spin down when not in use. I can't disconnect it, because I have an auto-backup set nightly when I'm asleep, so it needs to be mounted.

    Neither. I want it to spin down. But I don't want to view its contents, either. Yet it still spins up when I open a finder window, save dialog, etc. Even when I'm NOT trying to view the contents.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  5. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5
    Ejecting it when you don't need it seems to make the most sense, then, though there may be a software solution out there. I usually eject and unplug mine when not in use.

    I always found it odd that via firewire mine won't spin down, but via USB it will. Probably just something weird with my drive itself.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #6
    Got it, yeah, my backup drive stays plugged in via FW on my iMac; it's off usually. When I want it, I turn it on and it automatically mounts. When I'm done, I eject it and turn it off, but leave it plugged in. :)
     
  7. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    Heh, yeah, I meant plugged in to the wall. Mine doesn't have an on/off switch. ;)
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    Hah. The on/off switch is actually quite useful, I've found!
     
  9. MikeTheC Guest

    MikeTheC

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Location:
    Gallifrey -- Capitol City, Prydonian Sector
    #9
    I understand what you're getting at. However, I don't think it's something you can do anything about.

    Mac OS (in general) has the behavior of, upon any user-initiated request for storage media access (and sometimes non-user initiated requests) all mounted storage media are spun up to be made available, should access to their contents be required. Remember, at that point, the system may or may not be in a position to know what, specifically, will be required, so it takes the approach of just making everything available for access, "just in case".

    Now, theoretically, it may be possible via hack or some other means to alter this behavior, but it's nothing I've ever seen. And, to be honest, it's nothing that's ever irritated me enough to really care about. But to each his/her own, I guess.
     
  10. Dimwhit thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #10
    Thanks Mike. That's what I was wondering. I suspected I was out of luck, but I was still hoping. :)
     
  11. sgmorr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    DFW area Texas
    #11
    My previous FW drive, an older Iomega, didn't have a real on/off switch either so I know what you mean. It can be dealt with, just kind of an additional hassle.
     
  12. danpritts macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #12
    I have the same issue. Except it's not just in the finder - it frequently does it in the middle of a browsing session with safari. halfway through loading a page, it decides to spin up the external drive, which stalls everything for 5 seconds.

    it's absolutely maddening.
     
  13. Dimwhit thread starter macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    #13
    It's been driving me nuts lately. A LOT! And yeah, it's not just in the Finder when it happens for me.
     
  14. pixelator30 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    #14
    another user with the same issue

    I also have the exact same issue. Five-second slow-down when opening the finder, and in other applications too. The external hard drive is made to spin, even though I never asked for any of those files. I am running Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.4. Annoying. Apple, please fix this!
     
  15. SteveSalt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #15
    Alternative Solution?

    I too have the same problem with an infrequently used drive, but it needs to stay available.

    Could the solution be to write a script to spin-up the drive moments before arriving to work, not unlike the Mac machine itself startup time?

    I don't know enough about scripting to do something like that.

    I suppose it could still fall asleep later in the day w/o use...
     
  16. eRondeau macrumors 6502a

    eRondeau

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Location:
    Canada's South Coast
    #16
    In not too many more years our children will never believe that we once depended on spinning mechanical motors for computer storage. They'll call us Crazy Uncle Bob when we tell them about external hard drives, CD's & DVD's, and hard-wired internet connections. :apple:
     

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